REIBACH & CO - Reviewed by Mike

Category/Format: Business/Card Game

Interesting card game from Alan Moon which uses his famous randomised scoring cards techniques. The "Wertung" cards here take the form of dollar sysmbols and there are 10 of these shuffled into the pack and scoring occurs in 3 phases, the first when 4 dollar cards have been exposed, the second when 7 dollar cards have been exposed and the final one when number 10 pops up.

The rest of the deck consists of 90 commodity cards(9 sets of 10 different colours), 5 Wild cards, which can be used as any commodity, and 5 Double scoring cards, which will come into force when scoring occurs.

At the start the 10 dollar cards are removed and players are dealt 4 cards each from the remaining deck. The dollar cards are then shuffled into the deck and the first 3 cards turned face up next to it. The players objective is to collect sufficient cards in the commodities to become either the major or minor shareholder when scoring occurs. Other players will be trying to do the same so you have to keep a careful eye on which commodities they are collecting and how many of each they have. Players holdings are displayed face up in front of them so this information is readily available.

The cards are dual-purpose, with the backs being used to denote an 'Entrepreneur', which must eventually be played to start collecting a commodity. When choosing to do this as part of their turn (see Actions later) a player displays the commodity to all the other players before placing it face down on the table. This effectively reduces the number of cards that need to be collected in that commodity to gain a majority but this becomes a feat of memory as, once placed, they cannot be looked at by any player, including the one who chose it !

ACTIONS. In their turn each player can perform 3 actions from the following. They can perform each action once, or 2 of one action and one of another or 3 actions of the same type. Within each action special circumstances can arise and these count as 2 actions, see details below.

1. Draw a card and place it in their hand. If this is from one of the 3 face-up cards a new card is drawn as a replacement and this counts as 1 action ; if drawn from the top of the deck it counts as 2 actions.

2. Play a card from their hand , show it to the others players and then place it face down such that the back is face up. This indicates the founding of an Entrepreneur. Wild cards and Double cards can not be used as Entrepreneur.

3. Play a card from their hand onto the Entrepreneur to start a commodity or to add to an existing commodity. Each Commodity must consist of cards of the same type or wild cards and can contain only one Double card. The wild card cannot be played as the first card in a commodity and once a Double card has been placed no more cards can be added to that commodity.

Players can choose to perform action 1 and then do one of the other 2 but this still counts as 2 actions. So each turn you are faced with multiple choices. Do you take that face-up card in a commodity that you have started to secure your major shareholding ? Do you start another commodity by placing an Entrepreneur ? Should you get those commodities down before the next scoring round occurs ? Which commodity should I place my Double card on and have I got enough to be the major shareholder ? This is thought-provoking stuff and that is why the game is aimed at players aged 12+, this is not a family game.

The points scoring for each commodity are awarded on a fixed scale so there's only the need to get a majority to gain the big share, not to collect the lot. There is a bonus point for having a monopoly in a commodity and under certain cirmstances ties for second place receive no points at all. In the final scoring period there are penalties for have Entrepreneurs declared without commodities and for each card left in the players hand, so you have to be aware of this as you await the last of the dollar cards to appear.

This is not a quick game, often taking 90 minutes or more as players are constantly re-evaluating their holdings in the light of the previous players actions. With 100 cards available and a random choice of actions replay value is high and each game is different. A good solid game well worth your attention.

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